Another Olympic Whinge

No, not a whinge of Olympic proportions…just a whinge about the organisation of the London 2012 Games.

Today’s Evening Standard carries two stories about the Olympics: In the first, 93 of the firms who were forced to move premises to make way for the new stadium have yet to receive their promised compensation, four years after their original sites were compulsarily purchased – although that may not be the best term given that purchases – even compulsory ones – normally involve the transfer of an agreed amount of cash. In this case, £78 million is still owed to claimants.

The second story shows that, having stiffed over the businesses of the Stratford area, Games organisers are turning their attention to those of Central London, and in particular those in the Bloomsbury area. For five weeks next Summer, Russell Square and the surrounding streets will be closed to traffic, becoming the world’s biggest coach station. Seventy coaches an hour will run, transporting journalists from hotels in the area to the Games locations. And of course to ensure the scribblers aren’t delayed, Southampton Road, from Holborn to Euston, will form part of the “Official vehicles only” games lanes.

So, businesses all around Bloomsbury will lose vast amounts of trade because no-one other than journalists will be allowed through – and the journos will only be passing through, not stopping for the shops. A main commuter route from Euston, St Pancras and Kings Cross stations into the centre of the City will be closed to all traffic, forcing everything – I’m guessing – to use Grays Inn Road or Tottenham Court Road, both of which are bad enough in the rush hour as it is. And because plenty of bus routes will be unusable, even more people will resort to the already-overcrowded underground.

I have a thought about those Olympics-Traffic-Only lanes…I’ll share it in a future edition.

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